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House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Mennonite Central Committee StoresStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I congratulate the Mennonite Central Committee thrift stores. This year they are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

In 1972, the first shop opened in Altona, located in my riding of Portage—Lisgar. Since then MCC thrift stores have become a household name in many communities, where residents can donate and shop for new or used items.

Over the past 40 years, MCC has opened stores in Manitoba, as well as 40 more in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. These stores are run by dedicated volunteers who sort, price and sell the items while being a friendly face in their community.

Proceeds from these thrift stores are used locally and globally, and have gone to support relief projects that include disaster relief and sustainable community development. Last year the 16 stores in Manitoba raised just over $2.5 million in donations.

We congratulate the MCC thrift stores on their milestone. I wish them many more years of success.

Louise PennyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce today in this House that Louise Penny's crime novel series is being adapted for the small screen by CBC Television. A drama series featuring Inspector Armand Gamache is coming soon to television. Ms. Penny's first two novels are being adapted.

Louise Penny lives in Sutton in my riding. Her novels have been translated into 23 languages. Her varied cast of characters deal with crimes set against the enchanting backdrop of the Eastern Townships in the imaginary village of Three Pines. Georges-Hébert Germain wrote in L'actualité about the author and her works that she is “a woman who kills. From her village in the Eastern Townships, Louise Penny exposes Quebec society in her detective novels that are becoming best sellers”.

Congratulations to Ms. Penny, a woman of talent. I look forward to watching the series premiere on television.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, today is the World Day of Prayer and the first anniversary of the death of Pakistan's federal Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti.

Mr. Bhatti, a Christian, was assassinated for being one of the country's few influential politicians prepared to speak out against Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. His visit to our human rights subcommittee shortly before his death left an indelible mark on many of us in this House, strengthening our resolve to fight for human rights and religious liberty around the world.

I call on members of Parliament and Canadians to promote religious freedom through the rule of law. The theme of this year's World Day of Prayer, “Let Justice Prevail”, reminds us of the sacrificial work of the martyred defenders of minority rights such as Minister Bhatti.

To honour and respect his memory, on April 2 my office will once again be hosting in Ottawa a parliamentary forum on religious freedom. We will be discussing the issues of religious freedom and governance. Everyone is invited to join with us.

Bernard Grandmaître Awards GalaStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, the mood was festive at the Bernard Grandmaître awards gala held by ACFO Ottawa on February 23. This annual event recognizes francophones and francophiles who have distinguished themselves by their achievements, their dedication and their commitment to our community.

I want to pay tribute to Chanel Fournier, who won the young person of the year award; Kathleen Stokely, who was named francophile of the year; Najat Ghannou, who won educator of the year; and Gilles Laporte who was named citizen of the year. Congratulations also to the organization of the year, UMOJA Hope.

The Bernard Grandmaître award was presented to the hon. Jean-Jacques Blais, a former Liberal member of Parliament from 1972 to 1984 and a member of the Trudeau cabinet. He has been putting his heart and soul into the community for several decades, particularly during his time as chair of the board of trustees for the Montfort Hospital and chairman of the Heart Institute's board of directors.

Congratulations to Jean-Jacques and all of the finalists and award recipients. Congratulations also to the organizers of this wonderful evening, particularly Claudette Boyer.

International Year of Co-operativesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House that 2012 has been proclaimed the International Year of Co-operatives by the UN General Assembly, with the support of the Government of Canada.

The theme of this international year is “Co-operative enterprises build a better world”. For more than 100 years, co-operative enterprises have also been building a better Canada.

Across Canada there are more than 9,000 co-operatives, including credit unions, agricultural co-operatives, consumer co-operatives and housing co-operatives. Collectively, they have more than 18 million members, more than 155,000 employees and control more than $370 billion in assets. They make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy, creating jobs and keeping wealth in local communities.

The government is working with the Canadian co-operative sector to support the international year and foster the development and growth of co-operatives for the benefit of all Canadians.

I would like to wish all co-operatives, their members and employees a successful international year.

Death of Three Quebeckers in CubaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, February 25, three residents of Sainte-Dorothée, in my riding of Laval—Les Îles, lost their lives in a tragic accident in Cuba.

Maikel Mendoza Prieto, 29, Francis Tremblay, 26, and David Tartre, 27, died when their vehicle collided with a truck that was pushed into their path when it was struck by another truck. The only survivor of the accident was Ginette Sénécal, who was celebrating her 50th birthday that day.

I invite my NDP colleagues and all members of the House to join me in extending our sincere condolences to Ms. Sénécal and the families of the three victims. Take heart; our thoughts and prayers are with you in these difficult times.

Saskatchewan's EconomyStatements By Members

March 2nd, 2012 / 11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, I am very pleased to report to the House that Saskatchewan's hot economy keeps hitting new records.

Saskatchewan's employment reached record highs for the month of January. Saskatoon itself has seen year-over-year job growth of 2,900 jobs.

Saskatchewan's real estate sector is also very strong. Saskatchewan's building permit increases led the nation in 2011 with a 25% increase over 2010. Building permits totalled $2.6 billion in 2011, the highest on record.

Also, Saskatchewan's December manufacturing shipments totalled $1.1 billion, up year over year by 17.7%, ranking Saskatchewan first among the provinces. Saskatchewan's retail sales and wholesale trade posted the highest annual totals in the province's history.

I echo the enthusiasm of my provincial colleagues:

With sustainable growth, a competitive and opportunity-rich investment climate, and a high quality of life, there are more reasons than ever for people to call this province home.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, a year ago today a tragic shooting in Pakistan sent an ominous message to the world.

It was March 2, 2011 when Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian minister in Pakistan's government, was ruthlessly ambushed and shot dead in the streets of the capital.

We remember his legacy of advocating for peace and religious tolerance under the toughest of circumstances. He stood up for religious minorities and against extremism, and for that he was brutally murdered.

As Canadians, we must continue to advocate for those in the world who yearn for the freedom of religion and worship, a basic right that we hold so dear but that eludes millions.

We remember Shahbaz Bhatti's great legacy at a time when another example of intolerance of religious minorities is unfolding in Iran. There have been media reports that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, jailed for the past two years, has been sentenced to death in Iran for peaceably practising the basic tenets of his faith.

I ask all members to join me in the urgent and renewed appeal for international pressure on the Iranian government on behalf of pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

Jeannine PoloniStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of my constituents in Verchères—Les Patriotes, Jeannine Poloni, is facing deportation after having lived in Canada for 47 years. Now 67, Ms. Poloni has spent her entire adult life working in Canada. Her only sources of income are old age security and the Quebec pension plan. She has a mental disorder for which she has been receiving treatment for several years. Because of her mental disorder, kleptomania, Immigration Canada considers her a serious criminal and wants to deport her to France, her country of origin.

If the government deports this woman, it will present a shameful image of Canada as a country that picks and chooses its immigrants and decides who is more Canadian. Ms. Poloni is proud of her French roots, but her life is here, and she feels just as Canadian as anyone else. In France, she will have no source of income, and for all practical purposes will find herself in the street. Ms. Poloni has been struggling with mental health issues for years and has been suffering from deep depression since learning that she is to be deported. She needs help. She does not want to leave Canada, which is her country now.

We hope that the minister will review her case and do everything in his power to ensure that Ms. Poloni receives the care and support she needs here in Quebec.

Member's StaffStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, our presence in this place is temporary, and our work would be for naught without the support of the dedicated and hard-working permanent staff.

Today I would like to pay tribute to a prince of a man who has given 34 years of tireless, loyal service to all members, regardless of their political affiliation. I am talking about our dear friend Charles Lavergne of the House of Commons post office.

In good days and bad, Charles always displays an infectious smile that motivates both his colleagues and his clients to return the same.

Throughout his long career, noted for reliability, Charles has always been there to help his clients and his colleagues. But he does not stop there. In his leisure time, he devotes himself entirely to his community. He is always there for others, especially those who need him most.

Charles, congratulations on your much deserved retirement. May it be long and fruitful. I wish you much happiness with your wife Diane and your daughters and granddaughters. And above all, go Habs go!

Macdonald-Laurier InstituteStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I bring to members' attention the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Ottawa's truly national policy think tank. MLI is a rigorously non-partisan organization dedicated to making poor policy a thing of the past in Ottawa. The institute has a phenomenal impact on public policy debates, on topics that really matter to Canadians.

Even though it opened its doors only two years ago, the institute's work has already been cited by five present and former prime ministers, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist magazine and the editorial boards of The Globe and Mail and National Post. Now the institute has been recognized with an extremely prestigious international distinction. In January, MLI was ranked one of the top five new think tanks in the world. This distinction is part of the 2011 Global Go-To Think Tank rankings, an annual review of think tanks worldwide by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

I tell my personal friend, Brian Lee Crowley, to keep up the good work, along with all of his associates. We wish them good luck now and in the future.

Shahbaz BhattiStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I draw the attention of this House to the first anniversary of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister of Minorities. He was only 42 years old when his life was brutally cut short. He was a remarkable man who fought for religious freedoms in Pakistan. He was a man of valour and courage who stood for the rights of minorities. His death was a huge loss, as he was a man who fought to make Pakistan a much better place.

A year ago, our Prime Minister called the killers gutless and this House passed a motion condemning his murder. I commend his brother, Paul Bhatti, for taking up his brother's cause as a special advisor on minorities to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and as a leader of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance.

Our government supports religious freedoms around the world. I extend my personal and deepest condolences to his family, sisters and brothers, especially his brother Peter Bhatti, as they commemorate the tragic anniversary this evening in Mississauga.

IranStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, parliamentary elections are taking place in Iran in the shadow of a massive state-sanctioned assault on the human rights of the Iranian people, the imprisonment and silencing of all opposition in the run-up to the Iranian election, actions that are constitutive of crimes against humanity, including arrests, beatings, torture, detentions and the highest per capita rate of executions in the world.

We are witness also to the imprisonment of the entire Baha'i leadership; the imprisonment and silencing of more journalists, bloggers and filmmakers than any other country; the persistent and pervasive assaults on the women's rights movement; the criminalization of fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, association and assembly; and the shutting down of all independent civic and trade union organizations.

While the world is focusing on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weaponization program, we cannot abandon the people of Iran who are themselves the targets and victims of the Iranian regime's massive assault on human rights. We must champion their case and cause and let them know that the world is watching, that they are not alone and that we stand in solidarity with them.

Israeli Apartheid WeekStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of York University's participation in a nationwide smear campaign against Israel, known as Israeli Apartheid Week.

Today, as we welcome the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to our nation's capital, we know that the idea that Israel is an apartheid state is patently false. All Israeli citizens, be they Arab, Jewish or Christian, share the same rights and freedoms. Arab and Islamic people are freer in Israel than in any other state in the Middle East; there is equality for Muslim women; and voting is allowed and encouraged. As a result of these freedoms, 82% of Israeli Arabs say they would rather be a citizen of Israel than of any other state in the region.

While the activists are entitled to express their views, those views are grossly inaccurate. They are a disgrace and their hate-filled words and tactics must be condemned by all who believe in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I urge all members to join me in condemning this ugly smear campaign.

Service CanadaStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, we knew this government was refusing to provide answers; now we know that it is trying to censor the questions.

This summer, the Minister of Industry went around his riding bragging about how he lobbied to steal Service Canada jobs for his riding. A successful centre from Rimouski is being transferred to Thetford Mines, in the minister's riding; what a coincidence. When one of my colleagues asks legitimate questions about the minister's role in all this, he files a formal demand against my colleague.

Let us be clear: the Conservatives will never succeed in muzzling the NDP. The minister will never succeed in preventing us from asking questions that show the extent to which patronage and Duplessis-style politics are poisoning that party. The Minister of Industry is going to have to stop hiding behind his lawyers and start telling the truth to Quebeckers, who find his actions to be unacceptable.

41st General ElectionStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP and the Liberal Party continue their baseless smear campaign. It is clear that they have no information to back up their claims.

After a week of unsubstantiated attacks in the House of Commons and in the media, the facts remain clear, Elections Canada has confirmed that polling locations were changed at at least 127 locations, representing 1,000 polls, and potentially affecting nearly half a million Canadians in the 2011 federal campaign.

Liberal supporters received calls from people who identified themselves as calling from the Liberal Party of Canada, and the Liberals have claimed that in some ridings Liberal supporters received calls at inconvenient times that could be described as harassing from people who identified themselves as calling from the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberals have claimed that these calls originated from the United States. The Liberal Party is the party that sourced its phone calls from the United States during the last election.

The facts are clear. The Liberals must prove that these calls were not in fact made by the Liberal Party.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, Elections Canada is reviewing 31,000 complaints into election fraud. The CBC reported last night that the Conservative Party was reviewing tapes related to illegal calls that came out of Thunder Bay.

Why are the Conservatives now themselves reviewing these tapes if they do not think they are involved? What exactly are they doing to these records before they are given over to the authorities? Why not give to the records to the Elections Canada personnel who are investigating it and do that immediately, today, right now?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

That is very interesting, Mr. Speaker. Of course, I need to correct what the member just said because I am sure he wants to be factual in what he says. Elections Canada has reported 31,000 contacts, not complaints, and, secondly, the Conservative Party is doing no such thing.

As we have said in the House many times, everything that the Conservative Party has done is available to Elections Canada. We have nothing to apologize for but perhaps the NDP does because we see the riding president from South Shore—St. Margaret's is now saying, “There's just no way that I can add any fuel to this fire, if there is a fire. I have no idea how the riding got on the list”.

Perhaps the hon. member would like—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly know how my riding got on the list. It is because I got a call directly at my home, which was turned over to Elections Canada on the same day, as opposed to what the Prime Minister has suggested.

The Conservatives are getting their stories mixed up. Yesterday, the Prime Minister confused a Canadian company with a company in North Dakota. All week, the Conservatives have been denying their involvement in the fraudulent phone calls. They defend themselves by saying that the Liberals did the same thing. Even if that is true—which is not impossible—that does not justify the Conservatives' actions.

We want the truth. When will we get the truth?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is still no evidence from the opposition to support their allegations. However, we know that the Liberals spent millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of calls during their election campaign. We also learned that Liberal supporters were irritated by calls from people claiming to represent the Liberal Party. The onus is surely on the Liberals to explain these complaints by their supporters and to confirm whether these calls came from the Liberal Party.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the onus is on the Conservatives to answer questions. The Conservatives say that they had nothing to do with the fraudulent calls. However, they previously said they were not conducting an internal investigation, but now they are.

This House unanimously called for all information on voter suppression and illegal phoning to be provided to the RCMP and Elections Canada.

Why do the Conservatives not hand over all the records immediately?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have already given all the information to Elections Canada. Therefore, it has already been done. What we should discuss is the fact that the Liberals spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of calls during the election. We have also learned that Liberal supporters were irritated by calls from people who said they were representing the Liberal Party. It is the Liberal Party that has some explaining to do.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in many ways, our worst fears are being realized. The evidence is mounting that the 41st general election may have been hijacked by the most comprehensive electoral fraud in our nation's history, with 32,000 people, and counting, having come forward. It went from a trickle to a torrent as people's memories are being jogged that someone tried to cheat them out of their right to vote.

Is it the government's position that these 31,000 people are also a part of this drive-by smear campaign? In my experience, it is cheaters who lie, not good, honest Canadian citizens who are concerned about their democracy.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to accuse anyone of lying but it certainly seems there may be some misrepresentations, specifically on the part of the NDP.

“There’s just no way that I can add any fuel to this fire, if there is a fire,” said Wolfgang Ziemer, who was the NDP riding association president in South Shore–St. Margaret’s, Nova Scotia during the campaign. “I have no idea how the riding got on the list”.

Is that part of the hon. member's evidence?

What we can say is that the Liberal Party paid millions of dollars to do hundreds of thousands of calls right across this country. Is it not plausible that those are the calls?